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College Students: Hazing

Hazing is another form of bullying and harassment. Hazing usually involves the same tactic as bullying but is designed to produce mental or physical discomfort or pain, humiliation, and ridicule. People that experience hazing are often part of the same social group as those committing the acts and may be seen as a ritual or a way for a new college student to enter a social group or college house. Hazing really is just an organized group form of bullying, but is often more dangerous.

Fan Cheering

What is hazing?

  • Hazing is a ritual that involves risk, pain, or harm, typically as part of an  initiation into a group. The group may be a fraternity, sorority, club, or even a sports team.

  • College hazing often entails a ritual that you must complete before being officially a member of the group which may include violence, forced alcohol consumption, humiliation, isolation, sleep deprivation, and sex acts.

  • 55% of college students involved in sports, clubs, or other social organizations have experienced hazing.

  • 44 states currently have adopted anti-hazing legislation.

  • Hazing had led to death for some students over the past decade, and has seriously injured hundreds.

Hazing In The News

Since 2005, hazing has made the news numerous times across several different colleges in the United States. Over 110 college students have died over the past ten years from hazing, many of them alcohol related. Hundreds more have been injured in hazing related events. While most hazing has occurred within fraternity clubs, a few athletic related hazing incidents have happened since 2022. 

According to a recent study done by Alfred University, over half of all college athletes have experienced some form of hazing. One in five were subjected to extreme hazing that was serious and potential illegal. They were kidnapped, beaten or tied up and abandoned. They were also forced to commit crimes such as in destroying property, making prank phone calls, or harassing others in public. Close to half of those students were required to be part of alcohol related hazing and drinking contests, even underage.

Football Team Coach

Although initiation practices can help new members become part of a group, they should not involve hazing or any kind of violence, crime, or initiation that involves doing something against someones will.

Hazing is any action or situation that:

  • Recklessly or intentionally endangers mental or physical health

  • Creates substantial embarrassment, harassment, or ridicule

  • Involves the forced consumption of food, alcohol, or drugs in the course of initiation or continuing affiliation with an organization.

Being part of a campus group can be a life-changing and positive aspect of the student experience. Hazing undermines the value of these experiences and puts students at risk on college campuses, as well as the group. Students should not be deterred from engaging with their peers in campus organizations by fear of hazing but should be vigilant in recognizing hazing risks and practices. No one should be subjected to hazing as a condition for acceptance into a group, and students should report such circumstances to campus police or safety officials.

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